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Subject: Re: The Old Metropolitan Opera House
From: Daniel Tritter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Daniel Tritter <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:18:28 -0400

text/plain (78 lines)

sorry, ed. to me a disaster on all counts....sight, sound,
stage, lights, rehearsal space, bathrooms, sherry's
(only good if you knew the bartender or head waiter),
no disabled access (i wasn't disabled then). i still have
visions of the shabby sets sitting out in the rain on 7th
avenue, waiting for the walton's warehouse truck to
arrive. i was in every location between january 1947 (my
first in house performance) and april 1966) and the only
seats worth the money were in the dress circle...about $6
at the end of the '60's, as i recall. i remember being at a
"vanessa" rehearsal before the premiere. where? in the ladies
rest room on the grand tier level. what does that tell you
of that wonderful theater? most of the postings here are from
people who were never there, or who have read of the golden
age and other sentimental claptrap, but largely have no
experience of what a theater should have. the garbage pit on
39th street was obsolete on the day it opened. the law suit
was meritless on every count. the new theater, prayed for
all the way back to the otto kahn-gatti-casazza days, was
a multimilion dollar venture from  the start, and part of that
number was to be the proceeds of the sale of the site of the old
one....i don't remember joe gimma (licia albanese's rich
financier husband) offering big bucks to help in any direction.
would any sane board of directors hand over its property to
an organization, semi-competitive, without a caveat against
how the property would be used. the met in those days got a
lot of income from visiting ballet companies who rented the
hall during the april-september period when they were on
tour or in pre-season rehearsal...would they want a purchaser
to be profiting from a new kid on their former block?

but from all the logistical and legal obstacles, let's just talk about the
ticket buyers to opera performances: the met had limited sight lines
for nearly half the seats (and standing room), and very odd sound
problems in many parts of the house (excluding, of course, the
distant center of the family circle, fondly recalled by ed, though
his neighbors in family circle standing room probably heard 33%
less of the performance than ed did).

and so, friends of the met,,,and others ...

please cease your tears for the legendary "yellow brick brewery," as
one critic dubbed it. and though this seems the season for conspiracy
theories, try not to identify villains and their accomplices. the demise
of that appalling edifice was long in the planning. as any reading of
the history of the met  readily reveals, was economically desirable,
long delayed by the depression and world war II, but inevitable for a
management that needed no artistic debate as to the defects of presenting
opera at its highest quality in a decrepit piece of real estate that defied
any possibility of doing so.



On Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 12:26 AM, Ed Rosen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I came upon this a few minutes ago. The first picture is the place I spent
> most of my time at the Old Met. I had a subscription in the last row of the
> Family Circle ($1.65 per ticket) for the final 7 seasons! I can't say it
> seems like yesterday, but it doesn't seem 50 years ago either. Great and
> irreplaceable blessed memories.

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